Erik Jones Rallies To Win At Bristol

Erik Jones

Erik Jones found the ideal way to atone from a mistake in Saturday's Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but it took a bump-and-run for Jones to complete his comeback at the .533-mile short track.

Recovering from a Lap 230 pit road speeding penalty that sent him to the back of the field, Jones worked his way to the front through a series of quick cautions and muscled Ryan Blaney out of the way to take the lead on Lap 280 of 300.

Jones held the top spot the rest of the way, through a caution that slowed the race after William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Brennan Poole and Austin Dillon were involved in a Turn 4 wreck on Lap 291. The race restarted on Lap 298, but Blaney couldn't get to Jones' bumper to return the favor before the checkered flag waved.

"It was just hard racing," said Jones, who won his second straight NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the season, his second at Bristol and the eighth of his career. "We ended up racing hard and getting by him. To come back from a pit road penalty like that, it's a race I won't forget for a long time – just an awesome day."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] Blaney led the field to a restart on Lap 278, but Jones had superior speed on the short runs and quickly pulled up to Blaney's bumper. As they raced hard into Turn 1, Jones applied the bumper of his No. 20 Toyota, sent Blaney's No. 22 Ford up the track and made the decisive pass.

"He was so much better than us on the short runs," Blaney said. "He wasn't going to back out, and I wasn't going to back out either… I knew I pushed the issue with him. I knew he was close, and I don't blame him for not backing out at that time.

"You can't do that, so I took a chance, and we had some contact. Fortunately, we were able to get a restart in fourth (on Lap 298) and get to second and just couldn't quite get close to make a run at him."

To Jones, the bump was justified by late-race urgency and the relative speed of his car.

"At that point in the race I think there was less than 20 (laps) to go, and you have to do all you can to try to get to the lead," he said. "I knew clean air was important, and we were quite a bit faster than the 22 just to fire off, and I guess just the track cooled down and we got some speed back in the car.

"We were able to get around him and get the lead, and from there, I think everyone was stuck on the bottom, and we were able to hold them off."

It was a race of radically changing fortunes, and not just for Jones. Polesitter Kyle Larson led 180 laps, but cut a tire after contact with Brandon Jones' Chevrolet on lap 261 – an incident that started a chain-reaction wreck that eliminated Cole Custer, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Garrett Smithley.

Larson compounded his issues with a penalty for a commitment line violation but came from the rear of the field in the final 30 laps to finish seventh.

Sunoco rookie Daniel Hemric came from a lap down to win the $100,000 Dash 4 cash bonus after the three other qualifiers for the XFINITY-sponsored prize – Custer, Allgaier and Brendan Gaughan – all were involved in accidents.

Hemric finished fifth behind Daniel Suarez in third and series leader Elliott Sadler in fourth.

Race Results

Pos. # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status Points
1 20 Erik Jones Toyota 4 300 27 Running 0
2 22 Ryan Blaney Ford 9 300 61 Running 0
3 18 Daniel Suarez Toyota 10 300 18 Running 0
4 1 Elliott Sadler Chevy 17 300 0 Running 35
5 21 Daniel Hemric Chevy 8 300 8 Running 44
6 3 Ty Dillon Chevy 6 300 0 Running 0
7 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 1 300 180 Running 0
8 48 Brennan Poole Chevy 13 300 0 Running 29
9 11 Blake Koch Chevy 16 300 0 Running 34
10 5 Michael Annett Chevy 28 300 0 Running 27
11 14 JJ Yeley Toyota 30 300 0 Running 26
12 9 William Byron Chevy 19 300 0 Running 25
13 2 Austin Dillon Chevy 2 300 1 Running 0
14 7 Justin Allgaier Chevy 5 300 0 Running 26
15 46 Quin Houff Chevy 21 300 0 Running 22
16 19 Matt Tifft Toyota 7 300 0 Running 21
17 51 Jeremy Clements Chevy 15 299 0 Running 20
18 23 Spencer Gallagher Chevy 23 298 0 Running 19
19 28 Dakoda Armstrong Toyota 31 298 0 Running 18
20 33 Brandon Jones ChevyChevy 18 297 5 Running 20
21 39 Ryan Sieg ChevyChevy 20 295 0 Running 16
22 90 Josh Williams Chevy 32 295 0 Running 15
23 01 Harrison Rhodes Chevy 29 294 0 Running 14
24 40 Timmy Hill Dodge 34 294 0 Running 13
25 8 Jeff Green Chevy 37 294 0 Running 12
26 24 Jeb Burton Toyota 22 293 0 Running 11
27 13 Carl Long Dodge 36 293 0 Running 10
28 52 Joey Gase Chevy 38 292 0 Running 9
29 78 BJ McLeod Chevy 26 292 0 Running 8
30 74 Mike Harmon Dodge 40 281 0 Running 7
31 4 Ross Chastain Chevy 11 268 0 Accident 6
32 00 Cole Custer Ford 3 262 0 Accident 12
33 6 Darrell Wallace Jr Ford 14 258 0 Accident 4
34 0 Garrett Smithley Chevy 35 253 0 Accident 3
35 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevy 12 243 0 Accident 10
36 99 David Starr Chevy 27 227 0 Accident 1
37 07 Ray Black Jr Chevy 25 213 0 Accident 1
38 16 Ryan Reed Ford 24 79 0 Accident 1
39 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevy 39 15 0 Overheating 1
40 93 Jordan Anderson Chevy 33 13 0 Electrical 0

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